Earlier this week I've had the opportunity to post in parts one of the most horrific pieces ever written by Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries and author of 'Created To Be A Help Meet' at NLQ. She has written about her early marriage to Michael Pearl and his 'obsession' (translation for normal folks 'hobby') of spending every winter Saturday hunting down those wascally wabbits.
It wasn't the fact that Michael likes to hunt or his spending of funds during a tight family economy that makes this piece stand out to me as awful, nor his typically arrogant behavior of bringing dead rabbits that had not been field dressed or cleaned home to Debi for her to clean while he socked in the tub. The scary part of this mess, scarier than the thought of having to dress out long dead stinking bunny corpses, is that Debi labels a man's hobbies as 'obsessions' with the double whammy of insisting you, the poor little woman, have to accept his hobbies and be cheerful about them.
What. The. Fudge!?
This is one of those rare times when I have to take Michael Pearl's side.
Hobbies, or what Debi calls 'obsessions', aren't necessarily bad. People working hard long hours need some sort of outlet, be it creative or not, as a way to deal with the pressure of their lives and their jobs. How better to accomplish relaxation than with something you have a passion for.
While it's probably inconsiderate for Mr. Pearl to take their one car every winter Saturday to go out and hunt, was it really so bad? He did bring the meat of the rabbits home and do something completely divorced from his work that satisfied some great need within him that did not involve hurting another person.
My husband has his 'obsessions' as I do have mine as well. He does the fantasy sports thing and rides his motorcycle while I quilt and paint in oils for mine. I would never consider asking Jim to ever give up either one. He has a long daily commute, works hard to support our family without complaint. Whatever he needs to do to relax from that is a-okay with me. It's not an obsession, it's a stress relief, a coping mechanism. We both know better than to try and take away a hobby from the other because life is so much sweeter when you have an outlet like that. It is a fact that all people need something of 'play' in their lives to stay mentally healthy.
The sad and silly thing about Debi's complaints, anger, attempts to manipulate him with sweetness, attempts to get Michael to give up his 'obsession' is that she completely misses what the 'answer' in all of this could have been for her. She could have picked up a hobby or interest to pursue whenever her husband decided he needed to stomp through the frozen woods hunting rabbits. Later she sort of comes to that conclusion in her article, talking about getting a set of materials at a garage sale on running a business and how that knowledge helped when setting up their No Greater Joy ministry. How studying and learning was her answer for dealing with the times she was left behind by Michael's 'obsessions'. But she doesn't come to that conclusion before warning her readers that they should not be involved in their own 'obsessions' because their husbands will be coming home in the middle of what they are doing and they'll be too distracted to be proper attentive wives. I guess she thinks that studying is easier to put aside when Michael arrives with his rotten rabbit carcasses needing skinning and dressing out.
As for her claims that men are the only ones prone to obsessions, what a sweeping generalization that is! And no, it's not linked to sex, people of all ages, sexes, walks of life can develop a passion for an interest outside of their realm of life. It's healthy, it's normal.
What isn't healthy or normal is denying yourself anything outside of the tightly controlled sphere of home and husband.